The Different Elements that Bring Together Minimalistic Design

September 28, 2010 • By

Minimalistic designs are trending in today’s world. The reason for that is designers are looking and aiming at creating designs that are lightweight and friendly to the viewers yet elegant in its own way. Who would have thought it would be trending with all the delicious technology that is being rolled out such as CSS3 and HTML5.

For those who are creating minimal yet modern designs, we discuss six different elements or aspects that deem a design minimalistic.

Grid Based

Grid based web design is major key role in minimalistic design and there are reasons for that. Grid systems already provide locations for certain bits and widths and lengths and the like for all sorts of applications and content that are being implemented. Think of it as the blueprint of a design, everything is well laid out for you; all you need to do is add to it and give it flavor.

The nice thing about grid systems is they allow you to play with creativity as well as strengthen your layouts and design eliminating busy and chaotic designs that generally arise. Therefore, following the grid system is a key to minimalist design.

Light Background Textures and Patterns

Another piece of the minimalist puzzle is to have lightweight background textures and patterns. Remember, minimalistic design is all about simplicity and lightweight elements, which means complex patterns and textures are not part of it.

The background textures or patterns should have a light shade or color transition from the foreground, making it a real background piece where the eyes can focus on the content or main container and not on the fancy or busy background.

Clear Typography

If the typography is not clear and fairly large for easy reading your design will not technically be lightweight. With that said, keep the typography clear and readable and in some cases hierarchical for a nice clean minimalistic design.

Minimize Icon Use

Let us face it, many designs either use icons way too much or do not use at all, leaving pages overcrowded or less understandable. Minimalistic design is all about being lightweight to an extent, and thus, minimizing icon use is key, which means that icons should be used where absolutely needed and eliminated or minimal where optional.

White space is Delicious

Minimalism in design is all about the white space. No matter how “minimal” you make your design, it is not minimalistic without proper white spacing. With that said, use white space liberally across your design and around many elements as white space keeps things separate and ultimately better and easier to work withand read.

Modern Technologies

Many minimalistic designs today use modern technologies to provide their approach or “uniqueness” to their designs. What this means is, they used jQuery effects and the likes, very minimally however, to achieve certain goals such as an auto scroll back to the top of the page or the likes.

Now you may be thinking that this is complicating the design and loses the whole point of minimalism however, minimalistic design is all about using technologies and elements minimally but not eliminating them as a sole factor completely.

With that said, I am not encouraging the extensive use of jQuery effects, CSS3 magic, and the likes, however, using the technologies wisely can set you apart from other minimalistic designs keeping it minimal while introducing new techniques and flavor to the concept.

Registration before Checkout

Many websites will not allow their new potential customers to add products to their basket before registering to the service or site. This is something you want to stay away from at any given point in time as your users or potential customers can go elsewhere to purchase similar products. With that said, leave the registration process for the checkout process where it is more suitable.


Now that we have discussed elements and techniques that build on minimalistic design, it is best to see these techniques and methods in action to better grasp the idea of minimalism in design. Furthermore, we showcase four designs that we think are top in minimalistic implementation.



This design really incorporates minimalism while keeping modern technologies scattered throughout the design. The color contrast between the white and grey really pulls minimalism to the front while keeping nice touches of color about.

Toy NY

Toy NY

Toy NY is another great example of minimalistic design along with a mix of great animation using flash technologies. It proves precisely that minimalistic design is not all about limiting technology use, but rather how you use them.



Ah studio is just an amazing design implementing neat typography with great images and effects while keeping the entire design simple and lightweight. In order to keep it as simple as possible, they integrated all their pages or sub pages within one and using Javascript technologies, they implemented the navigation to scroll through the content to get to each individual page. Another great example that shows off minimalistic design while utilizing modern technologies.

Checkland KindleySides

Checkland KindleySides

This design utilizes flash technology to bring its design together. However, it keeps the minimalistic concept in check. It contains nice illustrations and animation effects while browsing about while it alongside keeps a nice lightweight minimal design throughout. A true piece of art that shows off what they do best in simple terms.


To conclude, minimalistic design is all about creativity and the use of technologies wisely in a way where the elements in use have blended in well enough to not make the design busy but rather minimal and modern.

Think of minimalistic design as having a clear canvas in front of you with a paintbrush. You can paint so many things on this canvas but what you choose determines whether your artwork is a masterpiece or whether it is something to set aside in your pile of other paintings. My point is, the amount of color, shades, elements, lighting, and others that you implement into your painting gives your painting a characteristic and classifies under many categories, and minimalistic web design is exactly that.

If you take all the available technologies and “paint” it together in a certain way, your design can be characterized as minimalistic or feature filled, or highly illustrated. It is how you use the available resources is what determines where it classifies. Therefore, in minimalistic design, let your creativity flow, but not exceed the canvas, or in this case, the characteristics or key elements that make minimalistic design what it is.